Showing a dramatically cropped image of a woman’s torso, Watching Suzanne (Back) 5 is a mixed media print by Julian Opie from his 2006 Watching Suzanne series. Depicted in his highly recognisable graphic style, the figure in the print is anonymised by the cropping of the composition that cuts off her head.
The Watching Suzanne series presents the viewer with iconography found in the cultural mainstream, showing an anonymous image of the stereotypically ‘sexy’ woman. Opie’s figures are therefore in line with his landscapes and still lives that form a self-conscious representation of his idea that art feeds on art. Of this, Opie has said that his picture making “is a self-conscious circular type of activity…I make art looking at other art, looking at other things in the world that look like art, making things that look like art, making things that look like things that look like art.”
As one of 20 images of the figure, Watching Suzanne (Back) 5, when considered within the series as a whole, forms part of an animation made up of still images. Opie shows the figure moving her hips from side to side then turning to face away from the viewer. Through his graphic visual language, Opie uses movement as a form of realism and as a means to differentiate between the people that he depicts throughout his oeuvre.